Congratulations are in order as Christina Mackenzie became the fastest-ever woman to traverse the largest of the British Isles from it’s south western to north eastern tips. Christina, originally from the Isle of Lewis but now Stirling-based took time to speak to VeloVeritas a day or two after her epic ride.
The 2021 CTT Scottish ‘50’ title race took place on the fast dual carriageways north of Dundee with GTR Return To Life rider, Chris Smart winning in a stunning 1:40:36 with veteran team mate Dougie Watson a scant six seconds back in the silver medal position.
Once again the CTT 25 Mile TT honours came north for 2021, thanks to John Archibald’s (EOLO Kometa) successful defence of his 2020 title, this time on the L2529 Bassenthwaite Lake, Keswick to Cockermouth course. John kindly consented to speak to us just a day or two after his successful defence.
Bernard Burns got in touch with us recently to share a bit of cycling history and to comment on what today’s champions put back into a sport that has given them so much. But we felt that Bernard’s career both as a rider, manager and coach was also well worth looking at...
With le Grande Boucle set to depart on Saturday June 26th from Brittany – which shares Celtic culture with Scotland - we thought we should have a look at the Scottish riders who have participated in the biggest race on the planet, over the years.
David Rayner Fund 2018 ‘rider of the year,’ Heriot man, Stuart Balfour was busy post the 2020 ‘lock down’ and season 2021 sees him step up a level to UCI Continental team, Swiss Racing Academy which boasts former multiple World Time Trial and reigning Olympic Time Trial Champion, Fabian Cancellara as it’s patron.
It was with great sadness that we learnt this week about the passing of Craig Hardie, a living legend in Scottish cycling and beyond as a successful rider, true character, and popular bike shop owner, but so much more than that too. Originally from Dalgety Bay in Fife, Craig was a long-time member and stalwart of the Dunfermline Cycling Club and enjoyed a stellar cycling career.
When last we spoke to Mark Stewart, back in April, he’d just been cut adrift from the GB track squad on the strength of an admittedly below par ride in the World Points Race Championship, despite an excellent series of World Cup results over the winter. The other day, when we rang Mark we were back to speaking to ‘our Mark of old’, the new 2020 New Zealand Omnium Champion, full of enthusiasm for life and his sport.
There was never any doubt about Scotsman John Archibald’s talent; but we must lay aside UK results in the context of international racing, they simply don’t count with European team management. At 30 years-of-age our feeling at VeloVeritas was that John’s chances of a contract at the highest level were slim, despite his obvious class, however we’re glad to be proved wrong and John will be racing with Alberto Contador's EOLA-Kometa ProTeam squad next season.
Cameron Mason is back in action for the 20/21 'cross season, recently scoring his best result to date – a bronze medal in the European u23 Championship in s’-Hertogenbosch in the Netherlands behind World Champion and ‘home boy’ Ryan Kamp and fellow Brit, Thomas Mein.
Covid having put paid to her 2020, ‘End to End’ bid after her brave but ultimately unsuccessful 2019 attempt, Christina Mackenzie (Stirlingshire Bicycle Club) had to re-focus and made the CTT 12 Hour Championship her goal for the year. ‘Mission accomplished,’ winning by some 12 miles with a provisional 251.64 miles on a tough course in equally tough conditions.
Kyle Gordon was fourth in the CTT 10 Mile Championship and fifth in the CTT 25 Mile Championship but made no mistakes – well, except for crashing that is - in the 50 Mile Championship held on a far from ‘float’ course in the north east of England near Cramlington.
In the ‘whatever happened to?’ file: Mr. Jim Linden, former four times Scottish BAR; six times Scottish individual time trial champion and three times Scottish record breaker. The good news is that we can report that he’s alive and well and living in Hong Kong where, at 84 years-of-age he’s still working as a consultant.
It’s hard to believe but it’s now 13 years since VeloVeritas’ Belgium and East Europe archivist, Ivan and I drove through to Strathaven to meet Mr. Norrie Drummond, former racing cyclist of note in Auld Scotia and Belgium and patron of the Drummond Trophy Road Race, one of few remaining ‘landmark’ races in Scotland. We chatted to Norrie recently to hear some more stories about the old times...
He’s a man we should have caught up with long ago – but one of the few good things about ‘lockdown’ is that it has given us the time to catch up with riders who have ‘slipped through the VeloVeritas net.’ At last; Mr. David Whitehall...
A cold Friday night during the winter of 1971/72. My Kirkcaldy & District CC club mate, Rab Speirs and I are walking up the A93 near the infamous ‘Devil’s Elbow’ hairpin en route the Braemar youth hostel. Behind us we hear the sound of bike tyre on tarmac, two figures totting enormous saddle bags heave past us; Mr. George Berwick, who was reigning Scottish 12 Hour Champion at the time....
When I asked Drew Wilson (or 'Mr. Visualbikefit', as he’s known on social media) if he’d like to do a wee interview with us here at VeloVeritas he replied that he wasn’t sure he had enough interesting things to say? We said that we’d risk it and we’re glad we did…
We’ve opened the ‘whatever happened to’ file again, this time it’s a man who many will remember dominating Meadowbank Track League in Edinburgh back in the 70’s, winning a rare (in that era) British Track Championship medal and scoring numerous, notable successes on the road; Graeme Nisbet of Dunedin CC and Roiseal Cycle Racing Team.
‘Sorry, I fell asleep, I need my afternoon nap after one of Flavio’s training sessions – a 90 minute chain gang then six laps of a circuit with a steep ‘kicker’ in it.’ That was Hamish Strachan explaining to us why he’d missed our call – good to hear that the young man is back in the groove after a difficult start to his year.
It was 2019 when we last spoke to Iain Macleod - he was with Aberdeen Wheelers then but is now with Kelpie Racing - he’d just won the SC 50 mile championships and the man is making the headlines again; a couple of weeks ago he took the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial title and before that recorded the fastest 100 mile time trial ever ridden on Scottish roads.
It was ironic that Chris Anker Sørensen’s life should end doing what he had become known for after his career as a professional cyclist was over – preparing meticulously for his role as a TV race commentator, out riding the parcours of Sunday’s World Individual Time Trial Championship in Flanders.
We liked our jaunt to the Tour of the Campsies last year and feel at home among the rolling countryside and green hills there so we headed west, first of all paying our respects to the Robert Millar mural at the foot of the Crow Road; when you watch Roglič take the Lagos di Covadonga stage in the Vuelta it’s difficult to imagine the wee fella from Glasgow winning that stage – but win it he did.
We had a look around Hawick as the 2021 Tour of Britain race carnival hit town, we caught up with friends then headed out on the course, hiding from the wind on Wanside Rig to see the peloton as it headed towards Gifford...
With victories already this season in various time trial distances ranging from 25 to 100 miles (with a two mile hill climb win too), Iain Macleod (Kelpie Racing) added the Scottish Cycling Olympic Time Trial 2021 title to his growing palmarès.
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